There are a number of important art works on display around the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, amassed through acquisitions and donations throughout the history of the Gardens.
THE BANDSMENS MEMORIAL ROTUNDA IS CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE DUE TO EARTHQUAKE DAMAGE
Situated within Harman's Grove overlooking the Daffodil Woodland
The Rotunda was the first memorial to be erected within New Zealand and commemorates the sacrifices of bandsmen who lost their lives in the First World War.
Designed by S. and A. Luttrell Brothers, one of the leading firms of architects at the time, the Bandsmen's Memorial was officially opened by MP Sir Heaton Rhodes in September 1926. It has been and continues to be a popular venue for a wide range of musical entertainment, from brass bands, pipe bands to string quartets. It is a particularly pleasant area during springtime, with the flowering of hundreds of thousands of daffodils.
The Rotunda has a Grade II Historic Places Trust listing.
In the Botanic Gardens, nestled in the corner of a garden plot at the east entrance to the Children’s Playground
This solid brass gnome set on stone was placed to mark the International Year of the Gnome in 1995. An inscription on a sash around his shoulders reads:
"Guarding naturally over mother earth."
THE SUNDIAL IS CURRENTLY AWAITING REPAIR
Botanic Gardens in the centre of the Herbaceous Border
An Oamaru stone cairn (a man-made stack of stones) with a slate dial and a brass shadow marker. There are four brass inscribed plaques around the outside edge of the dial. They read:
"The Desert : Shall Rejoice : And Blossom : As The Rose."
In the Botanic Gardens at the top of the steps leading down to the Woodland Bridge adjacent to the Cherry Mound and Peace Bell
A matching pair of Oamaru stone tazze (shallow ornamental bowls) on pedestals. Donated by James Jamieson, the pair were originally gifted for the newly formed Rosary in August 1916. The tazze were relocated to their current location in 1935.
Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre in the permanent exhibition
At two metres tall, this crane is one of a pair currently on display in the Gardens. It was purchased in Japan in 1891 by Lady Jessie Rhodes while she honeymooned with her husband Sir Heaton Rhodes, a prominent Christchurch lawyer and politician. The cranes were gifted to the Gardens in 1968 by the Rhodes' niece Miss C O'Rorke.
In Hagley Park, on the north bank of the Avon River in the Kate Sheppard Memorial Walk
A stone memorial marking the site of the first well used by the early settlers. A black granite stone inset into the well has an inscription that reads:
"This memorial encloses the spring which the pioneer settlers used. Erected on the 80th anniversary of their landing. December 16, 1930".
In Townend House, the flowering conservatory
A marble statuette of six putti (cherubs) playing music and drinking.
In the Botanic Gardens at the east end of the Archery Lawn
This spidery sculpture, created by local Canterbury sculptor Sam Mahon, was designed to reflect the "messy reality of human life". First installed for the 1997-98 ‘Sculpture in the Gardens’ event, Regret was an instant crowd-pleaser. The sculpture can only move with audience participation, and Mahon himself wanted the sculpture to stay because it made a lot of people happy.
Regret Fountain is on a long term loan to the Botanic Gardens from Robin Judkin's collection.
Christchurch's first public art gallery, the Robert McDougall Art Gallery is located in the Botanic Gardens near Armstrong Lawn at the rear of Canterbury Museum.
Named after its donor, local businessman Robert Ewing McDougall, the gallery first opened its doors in 1932. The gallery began as a home for a small collection of 160 paintings and sculptures and this collection steadily grew. With the development of a new Christchurch Art Gallery on Montreal Street in 2003, the Robert McDougall Art Gallery closed and has remained.
One of the statues is on display in the Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre in the permanent exhibition. The other two pieces are currently in storage.
Marble statues of the female form standing at approximately 1.4 metres tall, c. 1880. Christchurch resident and businessman George Scott originally purchased a number of statues to line the drive of his Opawa home. These were donated to the Gardens in 1924 when Scott's family moved to a new home. All three figures are posed in draped garments and are symbolically linked somehow by animals around the base.
The Central Rose Garden
This sundial serves as both an orientation table for some of the world's major cities and a sundial for New Zealand Standard Time. Built with a conical shaped pedestal clad with Halswell bluestone, the dial plate is made from polished ebony granite.
During the 1950s there were multiple issues with the mirror pool in the centre of the Rosary and it was decided that a sundial would be a more suitable feature.
Thomas Stevenson donated eighty pounds towards the design and construction of the sundial and it was constructed in 1954.
In Hagley Park along the Daffodil Woodland riverbank
A bronze drinking fountain designed by New Zealand sculptor Phil Price to represent a moment in time. The form of this sculpture mirrors the form of the ducks as they take flight, or come to land along the river that flows through Christchurch. The fountain was gifted to the city of Christchurch by the Canterbury Branch of the Institute of Foundrymen in 1993.
In the Botanic Gardens west of the Central Rose Garden and adjacent to the Water Garden
Te Puna Ora translates from Maori as "The Spring Of Life". A small pond is surrounded by several stone carvings by Mr Riki Manuel and Mr Douglas Woods. In these works Manuel and Woods bring a diversity of cultures together in one place.
Manuel’s sculpture (to the right of the spring) embodies the shape of a Māori Water Spirit, which you can see in the curves of the natural shape of the rock. Woods’ sculpture (left of the spring) utilises the triskele symbol to represent Celtic and Māori heritage, celebrating the circle and unity of life in both cultures.
In Hagley Park along the Daffodil Woodland riverbank
Llew Summers created two powerful nude figures performing a wrestling move to represent New Zealand’s strong and passionate sporting culture. Cast in a mixture of cement and marble chip known as terrazo, the piece was purchased by the Christchurch City Council in 1990.
Ian Lamont purposefully gives his cabbage tree sculptures a fairly human shape. He enjoys the thought of them ‘throwing’ their branches or arms into the air, happily greeting the morning sun.
Towering over the magnolia and azalea trees, this monumental sculpture creates a window through which you can frame your own scene of the beautiful gardens beyond.
Raymond Herber’s galvanised steel sculptures are representative of the changing seasons. The daffodils are at their most beautiful in the spring while the roses are most colourful in the summer. Ferns are green and alive in the winter when nothing else is, and the oak leaves turn gorgeous colours during autumn.